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TURA weighs options for TID property

Talent Irrigation District might keep an office and a work building in downtown Talent, with the third leg of a roundabout running near them, under a proposal the Talent Urban Renewal Agency will present to the district.

TURA’s board of directors voted Thursday to prepare two proposals for TID to move a partially finished roundabout project forward. One proposal would purchase the entire 2.9-acre TID site with the buildings. The second would leave parts of TID at the current location.

Two legs of the roundabout were completed in 2014, connecting West Valley View Road and Main Street. A third leg going through the TID property would connect the roundabout to Wagner Street.

TID board Chairman Bob Morse told TURA Executive Director Tom Corrigan to “come back to us and show us what you will do,” Corrigan reported of a meeting held last week.

TID has estimated it would take from $3 million to $4 million to buy land and replicate its current facility, with some improvements. TID obtained an appraisal that said its land and buildings were worth $750,000. TID and TURA began discussions of a purchase in 2015.

“I feel we have made every diligent effort we possibly could to come up with a reasonable amount,” said TURA board member Ryan Pedersen, who made the motion directing staff to prepare the offers. He noted the TID estimate is five times the appraised value, and he wants a reasonable offer that is fair to both parties.

TURA had its own appraiser evaluate the TID appraisal, said Corrigan. Possible groundwater contamination from fuel tanks that may have been at the TID site must be considered in preparing the offers, Corrigan noted.

TID has said it wants to be made whole in the process to avoid additional expense for district patrons. TURA is working with that premise, said Corrigan.

The TID site consists of two parcels totaling 2.9 acres. One plan showed only a half-acre would be needed for the roundabout. The remaining land could be developed.

Under one concept, the TID office building at 104 W. Valley View Road would remain. A work building would be taken down and a new one constructed closer to the office. Storage of pipe on the site would be moved to another location.

TURA has offers in and earnest money down on two commercial lots between the TID property and Highway 99. An offer of $895,000 was tendered for a 1.65-acre lot, which includes a building. The other, for bare land totaling 1.94 acres, was $475,000.

Highway frontage on the two lots accounts for the difference in value compared to the TID site, which would not have the same commercial appeal, Corrigan said.

Engineering plans for the third roundabout leg show an estimated cost of about $750,000 to put in the road and necessary amenities, said Corrigan. Anyone who purchased the property and wanted to develop would have to do the roadwork, because it is included in city transportation plans, he added.

TURA’s board will review the proposals at a Dec. 7 meeting. A meeting with the TID board is set for Dec. 13.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.